Isaiah / 66:10-14
Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort. When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.
- Waiting – not my strong suit. One year, I just couldn’t wait for Christmas, so I found my presents in my Parent’s closet. What seemed like so much fun at the time ended-up ruining my Christmas morning surprises. Needless to say, I never looked for my presents again. In fact, since then, I’ve learned to relish the surprise. Now I enjoy the anticipation of one of our Kid’s recitals or events – especially since I’ve gone to extreme measures to avoid getting a sneak peek. I’m also that guy in the movie theater that covers his hears, closes his eyes, and spurts, “blah, blah, blah” during a movie preview for a movie that I really want to see. I am not against movie trailers per se, but I am against the first 10 seconds of a DVD’s Main Menu that starts flashing parts of the movie right before I watch it. I can’t say that waiting is a strength of mine in my Spiritual life, however. Isaiah shares with us the beauty that awaits Christ’s servants. Why can’t we eagerly wait for Christ the way that we could? Do we daydream about the day when we will see the Lord like we daydream about an upcoming vacation? How can we focus on Christ’s Promise more?
Psalms / 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth, sing praise to the glory of his name; proclaim his glorious praise. Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!” R. “Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you, sing praise to your name!” Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam. R. He has changed the sea into dry land; through the river they passed on foot; therefore let us rejoice in him. He rules by his might forever. R. Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare what he has done for me. Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness! R.
- The answer to the 1st Reading questions in #1 above are radically answered in this Psalm. We are too focused on ourselves and not focused enough on Him. Self pity is a cancer and is dove-tailed into the 7 deadly sins: Pride. Envy. Wrath, Gluttony and Lust. Sloth and Greed. In the movie, “G.I. Jane“, Master Chief John Urgayle quotes from D.H. Lawrence’s “Self-Pity” when he tells Lt. Jordan O’Neil, “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” Perhaps D.H. was thinking about Matthew 10:29-31 when he wrote this, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” How do we focus more on God? More on others? Less on ourselves?
Galatians / 6:14-18
Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
- If you look at the weekly Mass Readings collectively, you’ll typically see several narratives which is part of the beauty of Scripture. It has a 4th dimension and is moving; or, as Casting Crowns sings in their appropriately titled song, “The Word is Alive”. We need to look forward and keep progressing – staying focused on the Cross. Boast in Christ and you will pay the price in this world and some will make trouble for you. Take it from me – I know. And, sometimes it comes from where you never thought it would. But, guess what? It doesn’t even matter. Like the 1st Reading, be Faithful to Him and the rewards are eternal. Job got the snot beat out of him – literally. By accepting Christ, we are a new creation in Him. So, get ready, because of John 15:18-25: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” How do we love, love, love regardless of the response? How can we help each to love unconditionally even when we’re being persecuted for Christ? How can you let others know that something has changed in you, because you now “bear the marks of Jesus on your body”?
Collosians / 3:15A, 16A
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. R.
- We are to let Christ lead even as the world fights Him. Let Him control our hearts and have His Word dwell in us. So, let Him make the decisions and preach His Word to others. That’s focus that you don’t have to stress too much over – WWJD – what would Jesus do? It’s not hard to know that answer when you know Him. How can let Jesus lead us more? Why don’t we let Jesus control our hearts more? When King David sinned, why did God still say that David had a heart like His? How can we still sin without losing heart?
Luke / 10:1-12, 17-20
At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.” The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
- In the movie, “The Alamo” (1960), Davy Crockett played by the immortal John Wayne knew that they were up against incredible odds with little hope for success. Much like the Apostles, Crockett and his Friends were asked to a suicide mission based on self-sacrifice – the ultimate love as in John 15:13 when Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Crockett goes on to say, “Now I may sound like a Bible beater yelling up a revival at a river crossing camp meeting, but that don’t change the truth none. There’s right and there’s wrong. You got to do one or the other. You do the one and you’re living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re dead as a beaver hat.” We know right from wrong. We aren’t given all of the tools, but we are called to be a lamb among wolves daily. The reward is that our names are written in Heaven. How do we do the right thing? In what ways can we change our perspective to His perspective to help us to allow Christ to lead our hearts?
Reflection for the Week:
Listen to Casting Crowns’ song, “The Word is Alive” (the lyrics are below)
“The Word Is Alive”
Looking out from His throne, the Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known and show us the way back to Him
Speaking wisdom and truth into the hearts of peasants and kings
He began to unveil the Word that would change the course of all things
With eyes wide open, all would see
The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believe
The Word is alive
And the world and its glories will fade
But His truth, it will not pass away
It remains yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive
Simple strokes on a page
Eternity’s secrets revealed, carried on from age to age
It speaks Truth to us even still
And as the rain falls from Heaven, feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let Your Word fall on us and bring forth the fruit You deserve
With eyes wide open, let us see
The Word is alive
His Word is alive